One of the most challenging agility obstacles is the seesaw. It can also be one of the most rewarding as you and your dog work together to get through it. The increase in your dog’s confidence as they go from “unsure” to “sure-thing” is an impressive thing to be a part of. Below, find 5 tips for teaching your dog how to tackle this difficult obstacle.
You don't work for free, and your dog shouldn't either. Make sure you have some of their favorite treats or toys before you begin training!
Helpful steps for teaching the seesaw, aka the teeter totter:
1. First things first, assemble the seesaw. Inspect it for safety, and make sure your dog is accustomed to seeing it set up.
2. You can start seesaw training multiple ways. If indoors, try placing a big pillow under the raised portion of the seesaw so when it contacts the ground it reduces the force and noise.
3. Another strategy is to place tow sturdy objects (like a box) of similar heights under the boards on either end. This will reduce the overall movement of the seesaw and may be less scary.
4. Use treats to slowly entice your dog across the board. Go slow, and reward them frequently for progress as they make it. If they get scared of the movement, slow down and take more time.
5. Remember, as a contact obstacle your dog should finish the obstacles by getting their two hind feet in the yellow zone when their two front feet are on the ground.
For the seesaw, prioritize safety and comfort over speed in learning. It is not uncommon to take a month or more to gain total confidence in this obstacle. It’s one of the most challenging for a reason!
As always, you should make sure your dog is in good physical health before beginning any agility training. It’s a great idea to call your dog’s veterinarian to make sure they are cleared for any dog sport.